CT (Computed Tomography) Scan
Why Choose Us?
Not all CT scanners are created equal. At Progressive Radiology our number one concern is your safety. We have invested in the industry’s leading low dose CT scanners designed with unmatched safety and diagnostic benefits. Our scanners emit very low levels of radiation and automatically adjust radiation administration to the thickness of body part being scanned. Our technologists and radiologists monitor the scan so that it yields the most information about your condition and often standard protocols are adjusted during the course of your exam to customize it to meet the your specific needs. This distinguishes us as we do not use a “one size fits all” approach.
Our CT scanners are exceptionally fast which also reduces radiation and results in fewer poor quality images related to motion. This feature is particularly important for patients who are unable to lie still for prolonged periods such as children, claustrophobics, and those in severe pain.
Our safe, state-of-the-art technology in conjunction with our expert radiologists and skilled compassionate staff make us leaders CT diagnosis.
At Progressive Radiology we offer:
- Walk-in availability for non-contrast CT scans.
- Same or next day availability for contrast enhanced CT scans.
- Fast and accurate interpretation of your CT scan by our highly trained board-certified radiologists.
- Prompt reporting of results to your medical provider.
- Complimentary copies of your images on film or CD on request by your doctor.
What is Computed Tomography?
Computed Tomography (CT), also called a CAT scan, uses x-ray and computer equipment to produce images of the body. Our modern multidetector CT scanners acquire images rapidly, and powerful computers are used to modify the images so that they can emphasize diverse tissue types such as bone, lung, solid organs or blood vessels; highlight abnormal tissues; measure the radiodensity of tissues to determine their physical properties; assess their vascularity; and to view them in different orientations or as 3-D rotating images. Our equipment is specially designed to minimize radiation exposure; and as radiologists we modify our procedures to minimize the amount of radiation needed to answer the clinical questions posed by each patient’s situation.
What are some common uses of CT?
CT examinations can be designed to focus on small parts of the body to provide exquisite anatomic detail (such as the inner structures of the ear), or they can be used to provide an overview of larger areas of the body, such as the whole torso, when the clinical issues involve more widespread disease processes or complaints that may originate from many different areas of the body. One such example would be staging for metastatic cancer or lymphoma that could affect many areas of the body; or poorly localized abdominal symptoms that might originate from anywhere in the abdomen or pelvis. Besides diagnosis, CT can be essential for planning surgical treatment, so that there are no surprises in the operating room; for planning radiation therapy; or following up on known abnormalities to verify stability or resolution over time.
What types of CT Examinations does Progressive perform?
Here are some of our most common CT exams:
|BODY PART||SUBTYPES / SPECIAL STUDIES||COMMON PURPOSES|
|Head (brain)||Bleeding around the brain, headache, tumors|
|Sinuses||Screening or Complete (two planes)||Sinusitis|
|Temporal Bone||Inner ear problems, hearing loss, cholesteatoma|
|Facial Bones||Orbits||Trauma, tumors|
|Neck (soft tissues)||Soft tissues of the lower face, salivary glands, mouth, throat||Salivary gland stones, tumors, infection, lymph nodes|
|Cervical Spine (bones)||Fractures, degenerative disc or facet disease, arthritis, bone tumors|
|Chest||Lungs, tumors, pneumonia, emphysema, bonchiectasis, lymph nodes|
|Pulmonary Embolism Study||Blood clots in the pulmonary arteries|
|High Resolution Lung Study||Precise and especially detailed evaluation of lung tissue|
|Abdomen||Generally covers from the bottom of the lungs to the top of the pelvic bones (iliac crest). Often performed in conjunction with the Pelvis since many symptoms or disease processes span both regions.||Provides an overview of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, bowel, adrenal glands, kidneys, and neighboring structures. As in the pelvis, tumors, abnormal lymph nodes, abscesses, inflammatory processes, or inappropriate fluid collections are detected.|
|Liver||Evaluation for diffuse liver disease (fatty change, cirrhosis), evaluate benign or malignant focal nodules, metastatic disease, screen for tumor in chronic hepatitis|
|Pancreas||Evaluate for pancreatitis or tumors;|
|Evaluate for pancreatitis or tumors; may include angiography of mesenteric vessels for tumor staging|
|Adrenal glands||Evaluate for benign, malignant tumors or metastases; endocrine disease|
|Kidneys (sometimes together with pelvis as part of CT Urogram)||Evaluate for kidney stones, obstruction, benign or malignant nodules or cysts|
|Pelvis||Generally covers from the top of the pelvic bones (iliac crest) to the bottom of the bony pelvis (symphisis pubis)||Provides an overview of most of the bowel including appendix and common locations for diverticulitis; bladder, distal ureters; uterus and ovaries; prostate and seminal vesicles; some types of hernias; lymph nodes or tumors.|
|CT Urogram (or CT IVP) in conjunction with CT of the Abdomen||A comprehensive view of the entire urinary tract including kidneys, ureters, and bladder to assess for stones, obstruction, cancer, infection, anatomic anomalies|
|Vascular Studies (CT Angiography)||Usually limited to specific regions of the body||Uses intravenous contrast injection and careful timing to capture images of specific blood vessels|
|Head (intracranial circulation) or neck (carotid and vertebral arteries)||Often chosen when MR angiography is contraindicated, or as a problem solver for ambiguous cases|
|Thorax||For pulmonary embolism, aortic aneurysm or dissection, vascular anomalies|
|Abdomen and Pelvis||For abdominal aortic aneurism, dissection, vascular graft assessment, iliac arteries, or venous thrombosis|
|Renal Arteries||Renal artery stenosis or anomalies; may include veins for invasion by tumor thrombus in the setting of renal cancer|
|Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, or limited levels are specified||Evaluate for degenerative disc disease, spondylosis and arthrosis (arthritis); stenosis primarily caused by bony overgrowth; fractures; malalignments (spondylolisthesis); check solidity of fusion or bone graft; tumors or metastases; imaging following myelography or discography|
|Bones and Joints||Specific locations and indications||Identify and characterize fractures or state of healing; avascular necrosis; tumors; arthritis; congenital anomalies; abnormalities in bone growth or metabolism.|
|Soft tissues||Specific locations and indications||Evaluate soft tissue masses within the extremities or body wall, their relation to bones; or diagnose hernias|
How should I prepare for a CAT scan?
- On the day of your exam, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
- Avoid clothing with zippers and snaps as metal objects can affect the image.
- Depending on the part of the body that is being scanned, you may also be asked to remove hairpins, jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids and any dentures.
- Women should inform us if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
- If you will be receiving IV contrast, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for four hours before the exam.
- If you are breast-feeding and will be receiving intravenous contrast agent, be prepared to pump and discard breast milk for between 12-24 hours following IV contrast administration.
- If the use of IV contrast is desired, sometimes results of certain blood tests (BUN and Creatinine) will be needed to assess the safety of its administration, as our scheduling specialist may discuss when you book your exam. Please mention if you have a history or kidney disease or undergo dialysis.
- A history of allergies to IV contrast, sometimes to other medications or foods also affects our decision about the safe use of IV contrast agent. Be prepared to alert our scheduling specialist about these matters at the time of booking, and to discuss them again with the CT technologist at the time of the exam.
- If you have active asthma and sometimes require medication through an inhaler, please bring your inhaler along.
- If you use medications to control pain or anxiety, please take them to enhance your comfort during the examination.
What is oral contrast agent, why and when is it used?
For many types of abdominal and pelvic examinations, you will be asked to drink specific liquids (“oral contrast agent”) while in the waiting room before your examination, or occasionally before coming to the office. Most commonly, a dilute solution of barium (an inert substance almost never a cause of any allergic reaction) is used to improve visualization of the stomach, small bowel and colon. It helps to identify diseases affecting the bowel itself; possible sites of stricture or obstruction; and to distinguish the bowel from otherwise similar appearing abnormalities like cysts or abscesses. Some patients find the taste of the contrast material slightly unpleasant, but tolerable. Occasionally dilute iodine-based oral contrast agents are added or substituted. Before the actual scan is performed, you may need to wait for the contrast agent to pass throughout the colon, while sipping more to keep the upper part of the intestine filled.
For some types of exams, usually for evaluation of the kidneys, urinary tract, or blood vessels, you will be asked to drink water instead.
Very rarely, at the time of the scan itself, some contrast agent will be administered as an enema, through a stoma or catheter in post-operative patients
What is IV contrast agent, why and when is it used?
Sometimes iodinated contrast material is injected into a vein during the course of the examination to accentuate the difference between normal and abnormal tissue in organs like the liver, pancreas or kidneys. The contrast agent passes through the bloodstream, allowing images of the blood vessels to be acquired (CT angiography). From there it passes into the organs, each of which when normal acquires a characteristic appearance at various times following injection. Alterations in the enhancement patterns yield diagnostic information about the health of the organs or characterize smaller abnormalities within them. Solid nodules can be distinguished from cysts. The kidneys remove the contrast agent from the blood, sending it down the ureters into the bladder where it can then be excreted, facilitating assessment for obstruction and permitting better visualization of the usually inconspicuous ureters and bladder lining.
What should I expect during this exam?
A CT examination usually takes five minutes to half an hour.
- The technologist will prepare you for the exam, explain what to expect and answer any questions.
- The technologist positions you on the CT table and pillows are used to keep you comfortable and in the proper position during the scan.
- If needed, an IV (intravenous) catheter will be inserted into a vein.
- The table will move slowly into the CT scanner opening. Depending on the area of the body being examined, the increments of movement may be very small and almost undetectable, or large enough to feel the motion. Sometimes you will be asked to hold your breath.
- You will be alone in the room during your scan. However your technologist can see, hear and speak with you at all times. If necessary, many centers allow a friend or family member to stay in the room with you during the exam. To prevent radiation exposure, the friend or family member will be required to wear a lead apron.
- To determine if more images are needed, you may be asked to wait until the images are reviewed. Delayed images may be needed to allow for further advancement or oral contrast or passage of IV contrast through the urinary tract.
- During the IV injection, you may feel…
- Flushed, have a metallic taste in your mouth, or have the false sensation that you are urinating. These are common side effects that disappear in a minute or two.
- A mild itching sensation. If the itching persists or is accompanied by hives, it can be easily treated with medication. If you have any symptoms alert your technologist.
After the exam
- Drink lots of fluids during the day to flush any residual contrast agent from your system. The technologist will provide any further special instructions.
- Once the images for your CT examination are obtained, the technologist will sometimes perform additional computer processing for optimal presentation to our radiologist and your doctor. If your doctor has access to our PACS system, the images become available almost immediately. Our radiologist evaluates the study and produces a final transcribed report within 24 hours. Often you may leave the office with filmed images of the exam or a CD-ROM in hand.
Lung Cancer Screening CT Scan
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death of both men and women in the United States. Each year more people die of lung cancer than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and secondhand smoke increases your risk of developing lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), at least 3,000 nonsmokers per year die from lung cancer related to secondhand smoke.
Lung cancer is more common in adults over 50 years of age. Other risk factors that may increase the risk of developing lung cancer:
- High levels of air pollution
- Family history of lung cancer
- Radon gas exposure
- Exposure to cancer causing chemicals possibly related to occupation
- (chloromethyl ethers, gasoline, beryllium, mustard gas, uranium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, diesel exhaust)
If you fit into any of the categories above, and you are currently asymptomatic, then you maybe a perfect candidate for a low radiation dose CT scan of your chest to evaluate your lungs for early signs of lung cancer.
The rationale for having this test is based on a major scientific study called the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which compared two methods of early detection of lung cancer: chest X-ray and low-dose CT scans. The results showed that participants who received low-dose CT scans had a 20 % lower risk of dying from lung cancer than those who received chest X-rays.
These results are very promising and may offer hope to hundreds of thousands of people. However, because this is the first study to show that lung cancer screening may save lives, and has not yet been widely accepted as a routine screening practice, most insurance plans do not cover the cost of the exam.
Progressive Radiology is excited to offer this service at our Bel Air and Salisbury Sweetbay Drive locations at the low cost of $95.00.
The exam itself takes only a few minutes, needs no preparation, is painless (no injection), and is safe. Your images will be interpreted by a board certified radiologist and a written report will be sent to your medical provider. You will leave our office with your own copy of your exam on a CD ROM.
What is your piece of mind worth to you?
Ask your medical provider today if you are a candidate for this screening. Schedule your appointment on-line or by calling our office. We also offer same day walk-in appointments. Please bring your prescription with you at the time of your exam.